After M*A*S*H ended in 1983, the Smithsonian Institute requested several items from the series for its permanent collection. The National Museum of American History then produced a highly successful exhibit, “M*A*S*H: Binding Up the Wounds,” which ran from July 30, 1983 through February 3, 1985 (I have written posts on the exhibit souvenir program and set piece souvenir). In the decades since, the M*A*S*H signpost prop has been on and off display, and the signpost has been off display for nearly a decade. But that will all change later this year. In December, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History is opening an exhibit titled Entertainment Nation that will features many items from pop culture and entertainment, including the famed M*A*S*H signpost.
Opening December 9, Entertainment Nation will feature objects and stories from theater, music, sports, movies, and television. The Smithsonian holds a large collection of items from American history and entertainment, and the new exhibit will highlight some of the most recognizable items. Items in the exhibit include Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, props from Star Wars, original puppets from The Muppets, and the signpost from M*A*S*H. The signpost is perhaps one of the most iconic parts of the M*A*S*H set as it was visible on both the indoor and outdoor sets. It will be great to see the signpost back on display so fans can see one of the most recognizable objects from the show.
The exhibit isn’t the only way the Smithsonian is honoring M*A*S*H. In September, the Smithsonian Magazine celebrated the 50th anniversary of the series by publishing an article discussing the lasting legacy of the series and previewing the upcoming Entertainment Nation exhibit. In the article, “Fifty Years and TV’s ‘M*A*S*H’ Still Draws Audiences,” author Chris Kilmek interviewed Ryan Patrick and Jeff Maxwell from the M*A*S*H Matters podcast as well as myself. The article discusses how M*A*S*H has bridged across generations of television viewers and the impact the show has had. I highly recommend checking out the article.
I am looking forward to the exhibit opening in December. I have never seen the M*A*S*H signpost in person. I was at the Smithsonian in 2013, shortly after the signpost was taken off display while the building was being remodeled. I plan on visiting the National Museum of American History after the exhibit opens, and I will provide more details and photos from the exhibit after I do.
The exhibit, Entertainment Nation, opens December 9, 2022 at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.